Saturday, October 6, 2012
Bulldogs wrap up 5-0 start at Kentucky
By David Helman
Call it a trend at this point: None of Mississippi State's final scores are particularly impressive, but the Bulldogs keep winning games.
Mississippi State didn't score again after its first drive of the second half Saturday against Kentucky, but it was enough for a 27-14 win and the program's first 5-0 start since 1999. Given the cringe-worthy nature of Kentucky's first two SEC losses -- a 38-0 loss to Florida and a 38-17 loss to South Carolina -- you might expect more firepower from the Bulldogs.
Make no mistake though, this was a State-dominated affair for 60 full minutes, despite the closeness of the scoreline. The Bulldogs controlled the ball for nearly 36 minutes and ground their way to 427 yards of offense, highlighted by a 23-of-39, 269-yard performance from quarterback Tyler Russell.
State running back LaDarius Perkins also put up an impressive 105 yards on 24 carries, and his 31-yard touchdown romp late in the first quarter gave the Bulldogs a commanding 14-0 lead.
The Wildcats had a breath of hope when freshman quarterback Patrick Towles replaced starter Jalen Whitlow and led Kentucky on a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive in the second quarter. The injury woes continue for Kentucky, though, as Towles was lost for the day later in the second quarter with an apparent ankle injury. The Wildcats have now lost two signal-callers to injuries after Maxwell Smith's ankle injury against South Carolina sidelined him indefinitely.
Other than that though, Kentucky managed just 228 yards of offense against the Mississippi State defense.
Russell found receiver Chad Bumphis for a 27-yard touchdown on the Bulldogs' second play of the third quarter, and the 27-7 lead all but cemented the win. Mississippi State drove to the Wildcats' goal line with a minute to play in the game, but the Bulldogs opted to kneel out the clock.